TReND volunteers run outreach events to inspire students, teachers and scientists about neuroscience, educate the public about the basic concept of brain-related disorders and teach decision makers about science for better science policies.
Science capacity building is essential for effective long-term international development. Neuroscience is particularly relevant because low-income countries have a greater burden of neurological disorders. Moreover, in Sub-Saharan Africa cultural and religious misconceptions about neuroscience are highly prevalent. In Africa, public education and awareness in Neuroscience is not widespread – partly owing to a near complete absence of neuroscience in the syllabus of schools. Science policies and funding are oftentimes inadequate due to the lack of dialogue between decision makers and scientists. Many science teachers do not employ innovative teaching approaches, and many students never develop a passion for science. TReND seeks to meet these challenges through outreach activities, motivating young students and scientists to pursue a career in neuroscience, invigorating the passion for science in teachers and promoting their hands-on teaching skills and increasing science awareness to lawmakers for better science policies and funding. To date, we have run several dozens of outreach events in several countries, most notably including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania. Our events have reached 1,000s of students, teachers and parents.
Recruitment of Volunteers
Local volunteers with an interest to contribute to generating science awareness on the African continent are recruited all year round and encourage to run future outreach events in their respective regions. If you want to run an event in your area and think we might help, please send an email to Mahmoud (M.Bukar-Maina@sussex.ac.uk).
“Teach the Teachers Workshop on Microscopy” in Maiduguri, Nigeria. August 2015
Some Recent Events
May 2015 – “Evolving in Life Science: Focus on beginner African Scientists” at Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.
May 2015 – “Why Study Science?” at Ruby Nursery and Primary School, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
May 2015 – “Coupling the Foldscope to examine microorganisms” at Ministry of Works Quarters, Damaturu, Nigeria.
November 2014: “Introducing TReND in Africa” at 12th Nigerian Society for Neuroscience Conference, Ilorin, Nigeria.
June, 2013 -“Neuroscience as a Career Option for young Nigerian Students and Scientists” at Yobe Children’s Academy, Gombe Children and High School and Gmbe State Univesity,Nigeria (Report) .
October 2013 – “The Brain! Who We Are” at Abadina Grammer School Ibadan, Nigeria (Report)
November, 2013 – “The Making of a Neuroscientists” (Report)
November 2013 – A mega winter outreach event on “Neuroscience as a Career Option for young Nigerian Students and Scientists” above topic hosted by al-Hilal High School comprising 10 different high schools in Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria (Report)
Mahmoud Bukar Maina, Neuroscience, University of Sussex, UK and Gombe State University.
Yunusa Mohd. Garba, Anatomy and Neuroscience, Gombe State University.
Mustapha S. Mohd., Physiology, Gombe State University.
Isa A. Sherif., Physiology, ABU Zaria.
Danjuma N. M. (Ph.D.), Pharmacology, ABU Zaria.
Abdulbasit, A. Physiology, University of Ilorin.
Mohammed U. Physiology, Gombe State University.
Goji D. Physiology, Gombe State University.
Issa Yusuf, Physiology, University of Ibadan.
Mohammad Buba, Anatomy, University of Maiduguri.
Thomas Karikari, University of Warwick, UK, and Wa Polytechnic
Professor Sadiq Yusuf, Physiology, Kampala International University.
Who runs events
Organised and run by scientists and partnering with different universities, science faculties and organisations.
Why it is important
In Africa, public education and awareness in neuroscience and brain-related disorders is very limited. Widespread basic knowledge about brain-related disorders would help de-stigmatizing them, and thus improve their prognosis, especially in rural areas. Additionally, the continent is in need for neuroscientist and neurologist, for example in whole of Uganda there are less than 10 neurologist, thus inspiring young students to take a neuroscience career path is of prime importance.
Why it is unique
Our events involve both theoretical and practical (neuro)science training.
Students attend events alongside their teachers which present the opportunity to reach two generations at once and thus to contribute in bettering student-teacher interactions.
Introduce junior scientists to low-cost, and Africa-compatible models of research in neuroscience.
Introduce decision makers about science in Africa and how it can promote national development
Who do we target
Primary and high school students and teachers, university students, junior research scientists and decision makers.
Our outreach events are run entirely by African university graduates, many of whom are alumni from our summer schools. By providing training at the top level, we therefore leverage the existing potential of local young university graduates to take the future into their own hands to themselves train the next generation of African Scientists!